London fire: Queen Elizabeth issues somber message after site visit

LONDON — The new exterior cladding used in a renovation on Londons Grenfell Tower may have been banned under United Kingdom building regulations, two British ministers said Sunday as police continued their criminal investigation into the inferno that killed at least 58 people.

Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy responded to fears that the number of dead could exceed 100 by saying: "I really hope it isn't". He said the figures may still change. The search and recovery operation in the 24-story Grenfell Tower continues, he said, adding that it has been incredibly distressing for families.

Controversy is also erupting over the Grenfell Tower's exterior cladding, with two British ministers saying the cladding used in a recent renovation may have been banned under United Kingdom building regulations.

The fire engulfs the Grenfell Tower apartment building.

Railway tracks run in front of the charred remains of the Grenfell Tower block in Kensington, west London, on June 17, following the June 14 fire at the residential building. The cause of the massive blaze is still under investigation, but anger has mounted in the community amid reports that the rain-screen cladding on the exterior of Grenfell Tower may have spread the flames.

Residents and volunteers will attend a private session at No 10 on Saturday, it was reported, after intense criticism of May's approach in the aftermath of the blaze, which claimed at least 30 lives and injured dozens more.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday said that the response to the disaster had not been "not good enough" as she battled critics who targetted her post-election fragile government over the tragedy.

"In the wake of (the) Grenfell fire we have to recognise that something has gone badly, badly wrong in this country, that predominantly poor people die in a towering inferno because possibly in the long term (there had been a) lack of public investment", Corbyn told ITV's Peston on Sunday programme.

Mrs May said she had fixed a deadline of three weeks for everybody affected to be rehoused locally.

Defending the way Mrs May had handled the tragedy, First Secretary of State, Damian Green said suggestions the Prime Minister does not seem to have what it takes to respond to such a disaster were "terribly unfair".

Scuffles broke out near the Kensington and Chelsea town hall offices Friday as demonstrators chanting "We want justice!" surged toward the doors.

Numerous displaced are living in churches and community centers.

Speculation has focused on the role that cladding apparently used in a recent refurbishment of the tower may have played in the fire.

Two nearby Underground subway lines were partially shut down Saturday in the fire area to make sure that debris from the tower did not land on the tracks.

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